Nine FCIAC stars named to New Haven Register All-State Football First Team

St. Joseph’s Mike Morrissey was named Player of the Year as the 6-foot-1, 195-pound senior defensive end led a contingent of nine FCIAC players on the 88th Annual New Register All-State Football First Team.

There were 26 players selected to the All-State First Team, a dozen each on offense and defense along with a punter and a placekicker.

Newtown coach Bobby Pattison was named Coach of the Year. Pattison led Newtown’s Nighthawks to a 13-0 season, culminating with a dramatic 13-7 victory over Darien in the championship game of the CIAC Class LL Football Playoffs when they scored the game-winning touchdown on the last play of the game.

In addition to Morrissey, the other eight players from the FCIAC who made the Register’s All-State First Team were St. Joseph’s senior running back Jaden Shirden, senior linebacker Cole daSilva and placekicker Austin Jose, Darien’s senior linebacker Sam Wilson and senior defensive back Jackson Peters, Greenwich’s senior running back A.J. Barber, Wilton’s senior offensive lineman Matt Gulbin and Danbury’s senior defensive lineman Jah Joyner.

Morrissey, Shirden, daSilva and Jose all contributed to coach Joe DellaVecchia’s St. Joseph Cadets defeating Daniel Hand, 17-13, in the Class L state championship game. Consequently, St. Joseph was voted No. 1 in the final state poll.

Morrissey had eight sacks among his 17 tackles for a loss this year and now has the school record of 20.5 career sacks. Shirden scored 37 touchdowns and rushed for 2,061 yards on 225 carries (9.2 yards per carry) this year. Jose led the state placekickers with 95 points, including a 38-yard field goal which gave the Cadets the lead for good (10-7) in the state championship game and da Silva totaled 94 tackles, including eight sacks among his 18 for a loss, and recovered two fumbles.

Wilson totaled 93 tackles, including 10 for a loss, and had a 20-yard interception touchdown return in Darien’s state Class LL quarterfinal 26-16 victory over Greenwich. Peters was an outstanding two-way player who had two interceptions, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Barber scored 15 touchdowns and had 42 receptions for 745 yards. Joyner, who has been rated as the state’s top recruit by, will play at Minnesota. Gulbin excelled as a two-way lineman.

The Register’s all-state football teams, presented by and released in January, selected 104 total players either first team, second team, third team and honorable mention – 26 players on each of those four.

In addition to those nine FCIAC players selected All-State First Team, there were 19 more conference players selected to either the Second Team, Third Team or Honorable Mention.

The seven FCIAC players who made All-State Second Team were New Canaan’s senior quarterback Drew Pyne (who will play at Notre Dame), St. Joseph’s senior wide receiver, Will Diamantis, senior offensive lineman Nick DiIorio, senior defensive lineman Jermaine Williams and senior linebacker Alex Pagliarini, Ridgefield’s senior defensive lineman Reid Englert and Darien’s sophomore defensive lineman David Evanchick.

The nine conference players on the All-State Third Team included St. Joseph’s junior quarterback Jack Wallace and junior wide receiver Brady Huchinson, Norwalk’s senior offensive lineman Sam Papp and senior all-purpose player Kyle Gordon, Greenwich’s senior defensive lineman Eddy Iuteri, Darien’s senior defensive lineman Will Bothwell, Danbury’s senior linebacker D.J. Donovan, Ridgefield’s senior defensive back Alex Hanna and Wilton’s senior defensive back Kyle Hyzy.

There was a trio of Honorable Mention selections from the FCIAC and those players were Ridgefield wide receiver Owen Gaydos, New Canaan wide receiver/defensive back Zach LaPolice and Staples WR/DB/QB Jake Thaw.

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